Book Review: True Story of a Princess, Inés Arredondo's Historia Verdadera de Una Princesa

by DerdriuMarriner

The biography of one of Mexico's most famous women, Malinche, is told by one of Mexico's most revered writers, Inés Arredondo, in original Spanish and translated English versions.

A princess gets trained for a certain lifestyle

Mexicans acknowledge Malinche as one of Mexico’s and the world’s most accomplished, beautiful, and controversial women.

It sometimes becomes therefore a sensitive topic to sift through contemporary accounts and subsequent interpretations about the multi-lingual noblewoman’s deeds and motives. Those who seek to accumulate facts first and form opinions afterward can find refreshingly welcome starts in Inés Camelo Arredondo’s (March 20, 1928 – November 2, 1989) 30-plus-page biography, Historia Verdadera de Una Princesa.

True Story of a Princess describes Malinche before interactions with two strong-minded leaders, Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro (1485 – December 2, 1547) and Moctezuma II (1466? – June 29, 1520), equally and respectively mindful of divine prophecies of cultural shake-ups and regal requirements for geo-political expansions.




57 Higuera Street: Malinche's house is located at the corner of Plaza La Conchita in La Concepción, or La Conchita, neighborhood (Barrio de la Concepción), southeast of Coyoacán's historic center, Villa Coyoacán

Guatemalan Rina Lazo Wasem (born October 23, 1923) who, moving to Mexico, studied with Diego Rivera and his wife Frida Kahlo, lives with her husband, Mexican artist Arturo García Bustos (born August 8, 1926) in Malinche's house, known as Casa Colorada.
Coyoacán borough (delegación),  Federal District of Mexico City
Coyoacán borough (delegación), Federal District of Mexico City

A princess has survival-smart brains, looks, and personality


Malinche (1501? – 1529?) historically emerges as:

  • Doña Marina (Lady Sea);
  • La Malinche;
  • Malinalli (goddess of grass);
  • Malintzin; and
  • Tenepal (lively speaker).

The last-mentioned three forenames fit with Malinche’s socio-economic position as:

  • daughter of Chimalpain, lord of Painala, and Cimatl, lady of Xaltipa; and
  • native of Coatzacoalcos, coastal center of Campeche Bay, Olmec civilization, and petroleum industry.

Reconstructive accounts by Bernal Díaz del Castillo (1492? - 1584) and Pedro Gómez de Orozco (1517 – January 13, 1601) give Malinche’s back-story as:

  • child disinherited by her father’s death and her mother’s second marriage to Malinche’s paternal uncle;
  • daughter displaced by a stepbrother; and
  • heiress distanced by successive enslavements to merchants of Xicalanco in modern-day Veracruz, and Putun-Chan in present-day Tabasco. 


Batalla de Centla y la conquista de Tabasco (Battle of Centla and Conquest of Tabasco): mural by Homero Magaña Arellano

Palacio Municipal, Paraíso, Tabasco, southeastern Mexico along Gulf of Mexico
Palacio Municipal, Paraíso, Tabasco, southeastern Mexico along Gulf of Mexico

A princess interconnects in Maya, Nahuatl, Spanish, Totonacan


The Battle of Centla on March 14, 1519, has historical significance as the prompt for Hernán:

  • accepting feathers, gold, jade, jewels, pelts, pets, turquoise, 20 slaves;
  • allying with Tlaxcalans and Totonacans; and
  • annexing Tenochtitlán on August 13, 1521.

Historians indicate as immediate consequences Malinche being:

  • baptized Doña Marina;
  • concubined to Captain Alonso Fernández/Hernández Portocarrero/Puertocarrero (1495 - 1523); and
  • employed with Jerónimo de Aguilas (1489 - 1531) as respective Maya/Nahuatl/Spanish interpreter from Mexico through Honduras and Maya/Spanish translator in Mexico.

Accounts and folklore judge Malinche as:

  • mother with Hernán of Martín (1523 - 1595), mother-in-law of Bernardina de Porras, grandmother of Hernando; and
  • mother with husband Captain Juan Jaramillo de Salvatierra of María, mother-in-law of Luis de Casada/Quesada. 


Monumento al Mestizaje by Julián Martínez y José María Maldonado (1982): Hernan Cortes, La Malinche, and their son, Martín Cortes ~

commissioned by José Guillermo Abel López Portillo y Pacheco (June 16, 1920 – February 17, 2004), 51st President of Mexico (December 1, 1976 – November 30, 1982)
Jardín Xicoténcatl, Barrio de San Diego Churubusco, Coyoacán, Cdad. de México, D.F.
Jardín Xicoténcatl, Barrio de San Diego Churubusco, Coyoacán, Cdad. de México, D.F.

A princess jumps from slavery back to nobility


Sources keep posterity guesstimating death-dates in:

  • 1529 from smallpox; or
  • 1551 with age.

Angels, chance, fate, and gods nevertheless leave happy endings -- saddened and wisened during enslavements -- with:

  • Christianized mother Marta and stepbrother Lázaro;
  • three devoted lovers;
  • two children; and
  • two grandsons.

Posterity may find happy reinforcements in Malinche’s extant residences:

  • 57 Higuera Street; and
  • 95 Calle República de Cuba.

So the original Spanish and translated English biographies, Historia Verdadera de Una Princesa and True Story of a Princess, provide older and younger readers culturally enriching, educationally entertaining, geo-historically enthralling insights into one of ancient Mexico’s very important persons, thanks to:

  • America Star Books, publisher/translators;
  • CIDCLI, publishers;
  • Inés Camelo Arredondo, author; and
  • Enrique Rosquillas, illustrator. 


Historia verdadera de una princesa (Reloj de cuentos) (Spanish Edition) by Inés Arredondo~ illustrated by Enrique Rosquillas ~ available via Amazon

Malinche biographies

True Story of a Princess: English translation of Historia verdadera de una princesa by Inés Arredondo

Malinche biographies



My special thanks to talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the internet.


Inés Camelo Arredondo

Mayo, 1989: La escritora y cuentista mexicana, Inés Arredondo (1928-1989), en su departamento en México, D.F.
Mayo, 1989: La escritora y cuentista mexicana, Inés Arredondo (1928-1989), en su departamento en México, D.F.

Sources Consulted


Albarrán, Claudia. 2000. Luna menguante. Vida y obra de Inés Arredondo. Mexico City, Mexico: Ediciones Casa Juan Pablos.

Arredondo, Inés. 2002. Historia Verdadera de Una Princesa. Illustraciones de Enrique Rosquillas. Mexico City, Mexico: CIDCLI (Centro de Información y Desarrollo de la Comunicación y la Literatura Infantiles). 

Arredondo, Inés. 2013. True Story of a Princess. Illustrated by Enrique Rosquillas. Frederick, MD: America Star Books, LLLP. 

Cano, Víctor Cano. 1 June 2001 (Updated 1 May 2013). “Jaramillas y Andradas en la Nueva España.” Apellidos. Retrieved April 8, 2015.

  • Available at:

Chaison, Joanne Danaher. April 1976. “Mysterious Malinche: A Case of Mistaken Identity.” Academy of American Franciscan History 32(4):514-523. 

Cortés, Hernán. 2002. Cartas de relación. Mexico City, Mexico: Editorial Porrúa. 

Díaz del Castillo, Bernal. 2002. Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Nueva España. Mexico City, Mexico: Editorial Porrúa.

Esquivel, Laura. 2006. Malinche: A Novel. Translated by Ernesto Mestre-Reed. Illustrations by Jordi Castells. New York, NY: Atria  Books. 

Esquivel, Laura. 2008. Malinche. Illustraciones Jordi Castells. New York, NY: Atria Books.

Ghersi, Ericka. Fall 2013. "La Malinche / Doña Marina / Malinali / Malintzin." Hum 2461: Humanities of Latin America > Lecture Notes. Gainesville, FL: Santa Fe College. Retrieved April 8, 2015. 

  • Available at:

Gordon, Helen Heightsman. 2011. Malinali of the Fifth Sun: The Slave Girl Who Changed the Fate of Mexico and Spain. Bloomington, IN: iUniverse, Inc. 

Himmerich y Valencia, Robert. 1991. The Encomenderos of New Spain, 1521-1555. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

Jane, S. Suzan. 1995. "La Malinche (c. 1500 - c. 1527)." Pp. 41-43 in Herstory: Women Who Changed the World. Edited by Ruth Ashby and Deborah Gore Ohrn. Introduction by Gloria Steinem. New York, NY: Viking. 

“La Malinche: Forgotten Mother.” Fun F > Famous Women A-Z. Retrieved April 8, 2015.

  • Available at:

Morawski, Ed. 2015. Goddess of Grass: The Story of Malinalli / La Malinche. Powered by WordPress. Weaver by Retrieved April 8, 2015.

  • Available at:

Thomas, Hugh. 1995. Conquests: Montezuma, Cortés, and the Fall of Old Mexico. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster. 

Townsend, Camilla. 2006. Malintzin's Choices: An Indian Woman in the Conquest of Mexico. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press. 


Malinche con Cortés: mural by Roberto Cueva del Río (born April 28, 1908)

Malinche con Cortés
Malinche con Cortés
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

Hernán Cortés meeting Moctezuma Xocoyotzin: 1885 painting by Juan Ortega ~ giclée print ~ available via AllPosters

Moctezuma II (left); Malinche and Hernán Cortés (right)
The Visits of Hernan Cortez to Emperor Moctezuma, 1885

Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

Gusty and I thank you for reading this article and hope that our product selection interests you; Gusty Gus receives favorite treats from my commissions.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 01/03/2022, DerdriuMarriner
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